Yes, I've recovered...although it wasn't until mid-week that I felt as much. (Kindly refrain from age comments, please.)
I think it was the dancin' I have done all week that has helped. No, I've not been shaking my moneymaker at a club. I had enough of that on the weekend at the MG Party. Rather, this grooving has been in the confines of my own home or a rehearsal venue. You see, I've been asked to join some friends in a routine for this year's Rugger Bugger show, an annual fundraising venture for the Sydney Convicts rugby team.
Looks like all those jazz dance classes during my musical-theater-wannabe years may not be for naught after all! My two feet will find a way.
Oh, and no, I won't be displaying my bits during the Full Monty segment. That's for the hunky rugby fellas later in the evening. I'm in the warm-up show..and quite happy to leave it at that!
This year's Mardi Gras was, in a word, sensational. What I like is that the festival is so big and takes place over the course of many weeks, a person can pick and choose how s/he wants to participate.
Our first year in Sydney, Mark and I went to Fair Day and marched in the parade with the Sydney Convicts rugby team. We had only moved to Sydney a few months prior, and Mark had just started playing with the team. We didn't know all that many people, nor did we have our wits about us in enough time to score a ticket to the party, so we simply went home after the parade.
The next year, we had become good friends with a number of Convicts players, and after marching again in the parade with them, this time we went to the party as well. I had been to a couple of dance events before, but this blew everything out of the water. Despite the fatigue from standing around in the parade line for nearly 4 hours, the march itself, and then some personal conflict between a few members of our gang, it was a fabulous night. The best part was dancing in the courtyard the following morning, bathed in bright sunshine.
This year, I had an animal-massage booth at Mardi Gras Fair Day a couple of weekends ago. It was an expensive endeavor which hasn't resulted in any clients yet, but it was a fun day anyway. Mark and I decided to skip the parade this time and focus our energy on the party and being with friends beforehand. We joined our rugby fellas there, and I also made a point to catch up with Mykel, who looked incredible in his devil outfit.
As an added bonus, James, a Kiwi buddy now living in Melbourne, and Matt, his friend from
the U.K. but now traveling the world for a year, came to Sydney and
have stayed with us for the past six days. It has been swell having
them both around. I feel I've got to know James better, and made a new
friend (Matt) as well. I'll miss them, but I suppose all good things
must come to the proverbial end.
They say it is supposed to rain in Sydney this weekend. I am staying indoors. I think if I get touched by another raindrop, I may explode.
Tropical Fruits was a wash-out...literally. It rained the entire 4 nights and five days. While it is always fun to be with our friends, by the end of it we were all entirely over it. Within the space of five days, The Lismore Showgrounds, where we and hundreds of others camped, morphed from a bucolic, pastoral setting to something that would have made Swamp Thing envious. I haven't waded through that much mud and muck since, well, ever.
Despite a nasty stomach bug I picked up from somewhere (Giardia, anyone?) and that kept me cooped up in our saturated tent for the last day, it wasn't all grim. The friends we hung out with were, as always, wonderful company. The dance was good fun, and the rain miraculously held off for about 5 minutes to allow for some pretty incredible fireworks at the stroke of midnight. Handel's Water Music and Royal Fireworks Music are often paired on concerts. This would have been a perfect venue, that is, if Junior Vasquez had ever done a remix.
Immediately after the fireworks, the rain began pelting everyone again and all souls ran for cover in the various dance venues...well, except
for the drag queens. They were encased in enough rubber, spirit gum
and waterproof mascara to survive the Great Flood.
So that you don't think I'm completely ragging on the entire experience, however, here are some photos from our getaway, pre-stomach-bug.
We all escaped the rain one evening to have dinner in town. (I'm taking the photo.)
Braving the weather to get to the beach near Byron Bay. The boys gotta hit the beach, you know, come rain or shine.
I hope my stomach bug has helped with the love-handle factor.
On an propitious impulse, Mark and I bought a massive canopy to take
with us. As it turned out, we all spent most of our time under its 95%
waterproof benefit! The purchase of the year!
Despite all the muck, with friends like this, what's there not to smile about?
By now, saying that I have been fairly inconsistent with the routine of my blog posting would be annoyingly apparent, kind of like my use of alliteration at times. As I sit down to quickly compose a post, I feel like I have too little time to say all that I'd like to. I will touch on a few things though. And in a way, I suppose that leaving a little up to the imagination isn't such a bad thing in reality.
It was a busier week than usual for me. Seems I was on the go just about all the time. It brought me to realize that when life finally presents me with the opportunity to work away from home, the shock will be fairly challenging at first. No doubt I'll fall into some kind of routine, but I wonder how long it will take.
Between working, compiling and posting academic job applications, taking care of Ralph (happily!) for Dean & Brad, a guest conducting gig, and all kinds of errands, I hardly had time for coffee. When Sandy can't have his coffee, it ain't pretty. But I survived.
Guest conducting gig. Sounds so glamorous. Actually I filled in for the director of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir for their weekly rehearsal. It felt great finally to be doing music again, especially as I am going through the process of applying for conducting and teaching jobs. The group are preparing for a World AIDS Day concert, on which they will perform works by Morten Lauridsen and John Tavener, two very fine choral composers. The choir will also sing another work, this one written by a contemporary Australian composer as a gift to the choir. It should be a great program. If you're in Sydney, here are more details.
To answer Patsy's question in a previous comment, Zirkus! (Sleaze Ball 2007) was good fun. There were three dance floors. There was the mammoth, main floor in the Hordern Pavilion with international DJs playing some very sensational music. The shows were amazing, too. What's not to love about 15 or so entertainers on stage and stationed on tall columns around the dance floor twirling flaming nunchuks to awesome music? Another floor was in The Dome. The music has a harder edge and the crowd tends more to the leather and fetish side. What a hoot. The third dance area, The Forum, was my least favorite, primarily because it was so crowded you honestly couldn't find a place to perch or dance that wasn't nut to butt. I suppose it would be better if I were more into the 80s remixes. But I'm not. Anyway, folks were having fun, and that's what matters.
In addition, there was the costume competition outside in the massive courtyard. With a theme of a 1930s Berlin circus, you can imagine how outrageously some people were dressed. When I first entered the area after arriving, I walked past a crowd of merry 20-somethings standing and talking. The guy closest to me, an attractive man dressed only in harlequin tights did a standing splits as I drew near, lifting his foot all the way above his head so that I could pass. I laughed and did my Jane Russell, "Honey, you'll hurt yourself" as I walked by him. (O come on, he'd never heard it before!) Anyway, then I thought to myself, "And this is part of what makes living in Sydney so much fun."
On Sunday, Mark came back from Wollongong, where he'd been visiting with his siblings who had gathered from all over to celebrate their mother's 60th birthday with a surprise party. She, on the other hand, had informed them only recently that her boss had already booked the two of them for a long weekend at a 5-star resort in Phuket. But that's another story.
Yesterday, Mark and I finished off a beautiful long weekend by taking advantage of the incredible weather and took Roger over to Clovelly Beach for lunch and some ocean air. (Zane is on school holidays and has flown up to Townsville to hang out with both his paternal cousins and maternal grandmother for 10 days.)
It was another one of those this-is-what-makes-living-here-fun moments.
It's not open to discussion. Sydneysiders love their Convicts. The annual Rugger Bugger show at the Midnight Shift always brings them in. They come for the strip show that happens at 11pm. Mark and a few of the other Convicts came together as a group of back-up dancers, lovingly referred to as the Fabunots, for a drag routine that served as pre-strip-show fluffing. Jase blew us all away as Donna, strutting her stuff to Tina's original Proud Mary.
(Click to view. Apologies for the audio.)
Oh, and the strip show was fun, too. (Sorry, no video of that one, but check YouTube over the next few days. Chances are it'll turn up.)
Afterward, we all stayed at the Shift for some dancing into the wee hours. Then sleep for a few hours and recovery brunch at Brad and Dean's. Then drinks and a movie at Larissa's tonight. What a perfectly relaxing way to spend a Sunday.